Motives behind white‐collar crime: results of a quantitative and qualitative study in Germany

Thomas Cleff (Business School, Pforzheim University, Pforzheim, Germany and Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, Germany)
Gabriele Naderer (Business School, Pforzheim University, Pforzheim, Germany)
Jürgen Volkert (Business School, Pforzheim University, Pforzheim, Germany)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Publication date: 28 June 2013

Abstract

Purpose

Knowledge on corporate crime still lags behind its far‐reaching economic significance. In order to learn more about the motives of corporate criminals, qualitative psychological interviews were conducted with convicted offenders to identify the critical motives behind the crimes. In a quantitative analysis the offender profiles were then systematically compared and validated with the help of court records from public prosecutors' offices in Germany. The purpose of this paper is to gain insights into the complex interaction of emotional, motivational and cognitive processes leading up to the crime in order to draw possible conclusions for how best to prevent and combat white‐collar crime.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to learn more about the motives of corporate criminals, thirteen qualitative psychological interviews were conducted with convicted delinquents in various penitentiaries. The focus was on fraud, embezzlement, breach of trust and corruption. In addition, the court files of 60 corporate criminals from 11 German public prosecutors' offices were analysed systematically in order to evaluate pivotal motives and propitious conditions for criminal behaviour along with characteristic personality traits of the perpetrators.

Findings

Five different criminal psychological profiles were identified that enable a better understanding of the motives behind white‐collar crime. The key point is to gain insight into the complex interaction of emotional, motivational and cognitive processes that lead to a criminal act in order to derive possible consequences for preventing and combating white‐collar crime. The results of the study reveal extremely disparate delinquent types that demand a mix of preventive measures and an adequate compliance management framework.

Originality/value

The results of the study reveal extremely disparate delinquent types that demand a mix of preventive measures and an adequate compliance management framework.

Keywords

Citation

Cleff, T., Naderer, G. and Volkert, J. (2013), "Motives behind white‐collar crime: results of a quantitative and qualitative study in Germany", Society and Business Review, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 145-159. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBR-10-2012-0042

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.